Friday night will be for bragging rights in the state of Texas in MLS Next Pro Soccer's inaugural season. More importantly it's about the playoff dreams of the Dynamo Dos and North Texas SC (NTSC). Both are one of top five teams in the MLS Next Pro table. What can fans expect in the second meeting between these two clubs.
First, if this game is anything like the first, fans are in for a real treat. The opening game saw five goals. Two were scored four minutes apart before 20 minutes had passed. Another came in first half stoppage time. Then two more followed including the game winner five minutes before the end of regulation. Houston won that road match 3-2 and they have added to their firepower arsenal since the signing of Kyle Edwards.
Second, these two teams could not be more opposite when it comes to playing on the road and at home. Houston is 3-3-2 overall on the road with a minus two goal differential. They have won just once in their last four road meetings in 2022. Houston scored six goals in their first two road games yet have just five in their last six road contests.
NTSC is dominant at home. Since losing to the Dynamo 2, they have posted three wins against just one loss and a draw. Their goal differential is plus four with two clean sheets. Prior to the loss to San Jose last week, NTSC's goal differential had been plus 10. They have score multiple goals in five of eight home appearances in 2022 while allowing two teams including Houston to score multiple goals.
Finally, here are the keys for each team according to their coaches.
"So our goal and our job this weekend is to disrupt the rhythm," explained Dynamo Dos head coach Kevin Bundy. "We're away from home. We want to keep the ball as much as we can, potentially pin them into their own half and really put them under pressure so that we can nullify some of their fast attacks. Because when they do get on the break, the quality that they have up front, it's top of the league. And you can see that with some of the results they've had. "
NTSC head coach Pa-Modou Kah described his team's mission this way; “The team is in great spirit and our expectations are always the same. It is to win and that is the kind of team we are. There are things in the game that we can't control. The thing we have controlled well is our attitude when we come to the training sessions and game days. They have that ‘championship mindset’ that we want to be playing for something come the end of the season. This is a great test for us, it’s a state rivalry and it means a lot. We lost the first game but we focus on what is going on now and we forget about the past. Our boys are ready to come out the gates flying after the result in the last match.”
Kick-off at Choctaw Stadium in Arlington, Texas is scheduled for 8:00pm CT.